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Colin O’Donoghue makes rallying history in Belgium

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Colin O’Donoghue drove himself into the record books at the weekend as he became the first son of a winning rally driver and Killarney and District Motor Club (KDMC) member to win an event.

Colin scored the biggest win of his career after he and his co-driver Kieran O’Donoghue won the Escort Rally Special in Belgium on Sunday.

It was the first overseas event, as a driver, for the former winner of the modified section of the Killarney Historic Rally.

His father Kevin won the Kerry Winter Rally in 2006 making the O’Donoghues the first father and son from KDMC to win events outright.

Colin and several other Irish drivers decided to enter the rally, based at the famous Chimay motor-racing circuit near the French border, due to uncertainty on the resumption of the sport in Ireland.

“It was a class experience,” said Colin. “I will have to go back and defend the title. It was a lot more-bumpier than I expected, the roads were very like roads on the Galway Summer Rally.”

His run was not without problems, a broken gear selector, a readout board fell off and landed near the peddles, and a broken right rear shock absorber were just some of his tribulations.

Field results were confusing too and with two stages left to run he wasn’t sure if it was himself or Belgian rival Pieter-Jan Maeyaert who was leading the event.

“One website said he was leading, another said we had 22 seconds advantage with just one stage to run, the results were slow uploading,” added Colin. “We went into the last two stages, and went as hard as we could, even with the broken shock and came out 28 seconds up.”

He was co-driven by Kieran O’Donoghue, the Glenflesk man is no relation, but is well-known for his skills behind the wheel of a Honda Civic on local Junior rallies.

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Kerry base confirmed for Rás Mumhan

By Sean Moriarty Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster. The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster.

The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in Castleisland and will run from Good Friday until Easter Monday.

The final route has not yet been revealed but it is expected to follow a similar path to the 2022 edition.

Last year, due to organisational difficulties, the Rás Mumhan committee asked local clubs to take charge of each day of the race.

Killarney Cycling Club hosted the Easter Saturday leg of the race, including managing the stage start in the town centre, the Category One mountain climb at Bealach Oisin Pass and the stage finish in Sneem.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Easter and we wish all the riders the best of luck in their preparations for the event. Further details to follow as they are confirmed,” said Race Secretary Sinéad Moriarty.

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Showcasing Killarney to an influential audience

Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night. It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it […]

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Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night.

It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it was also a perfect opportunity to show the best of Killarney. Held in the Plaza Hotel, it was hosted by Kerry Skal President Michelle Rosney who used the occasion to highlight the best of Killarney’s performing arts talent, cuisine and locally produced drinks. There were special performances on the night by singers and dancers from St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School and the West End House School of Arts who brought The Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, back to life for one night only to deliver a passionate dramatisation of a famous speech. Skal is the largest international hospitality networking organisation in the world with 13,000 members in 308 clubs in almost 90 countries. Fáilte Ireland Chairman Paul Carty said in his speech that the contribution Killarney has made to the Irish tourism industry should not be underestimated. He added that the tourism industry supports over 3,500 jobs in Killarney and over 7,000 in the rest of Kerry. He said the hard work put in by tourism professionals in Killarney over the years is paying off and when Fáilte Ireland surveyed hundreds of domestic and international tourists, at the height of the season last August, they couldn’t speak highly enough of their experience with 97 percent saying they were very satisfied. “The national figure is 90 percent so Killarney is actually seven percent higher than the national average and that’s truly exceptional,” he said. Over 55 percent of visitors to Killarney also spend time in other parts of Kerry and towns, like Dingle, Kenmare and Tralee, and really benefit from the spin-off.

INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

The Fáilte Ireland chairman said his organisation is acutely aware what Killarney has faced in recent years and the challenges it currently faces and every support possible will be provided to help.

Mr Carty said Fáilte Ireland last year launched a destination experience and development plan for Killarney and that will see the town reach its full potential through sustainability and the development of year-round tourist attractions.

He said costs were also a big concern with energy bills, in particular, going through the roof and putting businesses under serious pressure.

Staffing was another serious problem for the industry as so much talent was lost during the pandemic.

“An awful lot of great people left our industry and they’re not coming back, so there is a great shortage,” he said, adding that Fáilte Ireland was working hard to overcome the difficulties being experienced.

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